Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
RCDC's inmate count back near capacity
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, July 6, 1995-While other counties are scrambling to fill their prisons and face staff cutbacks to deal with shrinking revenues, Reeves County Detention Center is currently "way on up there," according to RCDC Warden Joe Trujillo.
The near-capacity situation come just three months after the
facility was threatened with the loss of all its inmates
over a dispute with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
The RCDC is currently housing 522 and will be receiving
about 40 more inmates today, according to Trujillo.
"Our count will be up over 550," said Trujillo. "We're
keeping our facility as full as we can," he said.
The facility can accommodate 558, not including the 96 beds
in the new addition. Segregation cells total 45 in that part
of the facility.
"The new addition is almost complete, we just need a few
touch-ups," said Trujillo.
The new addition will be inspected by the jail commission on
July 13. "Once we address the findings after that inspection
and the BOP findings, we should get certified by both the
jail commission and the BOP," said Trujillo.
Inmates will be transferred to the new addition while
life-safety issues are being taken care of. One wing at a
time will be moved while the facility is being remodeled to
comply with BOP life-safety regulations.
The BOP began removing inmates from the county-owned
facility in late March, after Trujillo was fired as warden
by Sheriff Andy Gomez. The agency claimed the firing
violated an earlier agreement with the county that would
limit outside interference at the detention center.
An agreement was reached on March 31 between the sheriff and
Reeves County officials that reinstated Trujillo as warden
and removed the RCDC from direct control by the sheriff's
department. Meanwhile, the number of BOP inmates held at the
facility dropped, falling below 400 at one time.
Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo has stressed that
maintaining a relationship with the BOP is critical for the
county, and other private prisons in Texas which have been
using state inmates to fill their beds have recently had to
find new sources of prisoners and the income they generate.
That's due to the massive prison-building program in Texas
that has turned a shortage of beds in state jail in private
prisons into a surplus during the past year.
A private prison in South Texas has been housing inmates
from Washington, D.C., for the past two years, and just
recently, officials from Crystal City signed a deal with the
Missouri Department of Corrections to house some of that
state's overflow inmates in their detention center.
Crystal City in 1993 struck a deal to purchase a 464-bed
But in May, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which
had been housing prisoners there, emptied the center's
With the prisoners went the $35.25 per day per prisoner the
state was paying the city to house inmates.
The city was faced with having to find more
revenue-generating inmates to maintain 80 jobs and to
continue making $48,000 monthly payments on the jail, which
was foreclosed on once in 1990 after Zavala County defaulted
on a lease agreement.
Although the arrangement with Missouri is temporary, Crystal
City has at least gotten some breathing room.
Other Texas communities are experiencing similar situations,
and some aren't so lucky.
Many communities are being forced to cut back on their
detention center staffs because they can't afford salaries
without revenue generated by inmates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Observatory ready to raise roof
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, July 6, 1995-Amateur astronomers, folks who like to watch major construction projects, or just those in search of a very early morning activity might want to travel down to Fort Davis before sunrise on Friday, where workers are scheduled to lift the dome into place on the new $13.5 million Hobby-Eberly Telescope currently under construction atop Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains.
"It's scheduled for sunrise tomorrow, but if it's windy
there's no way we can lift it," said John Booth, telescope
structure manager for the observatory, which is about 10
miles west of Fort Davis and an 85-mile drive southwest from
Lifting the massive dome into place is only the latest step
in the ongoing project, which is being funded primarily by
the University of Texas and Penn State University.
"We're about a year away from `first light' and two years
away from scientific operations," Booth said. "There are no
mirrors in it, though the telescope is essentially complete.
It rotates around beautifully, and has the mirror trusses in
it, but no mirrors," he added.
Since the job of lifting the dome into place is scheduled
for `first light' on Friday - sunrise at about 5:30 a.m. -
anyone from Pecos or other outlying areas wanting to travel
down to watch it could be taking a gamble, if early morning
winds force a delay in the project.
"We're doing it at dawn because that's usually when the
winds are calmest," Booth said. "Anyone wanting to watch it
go up should probably check with us this evening."
The main observatory number is 915-426-3263.
"The primary mirror will be 11 meters (36.2 feet) which is
the largest in the world, but we won't use all of it, so it
actually will be an eight meter telescope," Booth said.
According to a March story on the telescope in the
Dallas Morning News, the primary mirror is actually 91 hexagonal mirrors meshed together in a honeycomb pattern.
The "big bucket" telescope is designed to catch more light
than small buckets, allowing scientists to see farther,
gather data quicker, survey more objects in a given time,
and detect more subtleties in the objects they spot. With
enough light, they theoretically could see the edge of the
universe and the beginning of time.
The cost of the HET, as its creators at the University of
Texas and Pennsylvania State University call it, is just a
fraction of other instruments its size. The much-bally-hooed
33-foot Keck telescope in Hawaii cost $100 million.
UT and Penn State put up 85 percent of the money for the
Mount Fowlkes scope. Stanford University and two German
universities, the University of Munich and the University of
Guttingen, provided the rest.
The HET was first proposed in 1984, and work began three
years ago, Booth said. It will be devoted almost exclusively
to spectroscopy, separating light captured from distant
objects into its component wavelengths - its colors.
By measuring how much light of various wavelengths and
intensities an object emits over time, astronomers can
determine many things: the object's chemical composition;
its temperature; its rotation; whether it is moving toward
or away from Earth, and how fast; plus, in many cases, its
mass; its age and its distance from Earth.
`Oil tank' cover caps new telescope
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, July 7, 1995-How do you put together one of the world's largest telescopes on a budget of only a fraction of what similar structures cost?
Stick it beneath an oil tank, for one thing.
That's sort of what the University of Texas has done with
its new Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory, atop
Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains. The "big bucket"
telescope, which will have the largest primary mirror of any
telescope in the world, is due for completion sometime next
At sunrise this morning, the dome covered the 11-meter
diameter mirror was lifted into place by a 100-foot high
crane brought in from Odessa for the project, a spokesperson
at the observatory said.
The site, located just downhill from the two existing
observatory buildings on Mount Fowlkes, was busy late
Thursday afternoon with last minute preparations.
"We're scurrying around right now trying to get things
ready," said John Good, project manager who had come from
McDonald Observatory's office at UT-Austin to supervise
The university is building the $13.5 million telescope in
co-operation with Penn State and three other universities.
The HET will be devoted almost exclusively to spectroscopy,
separating light captured from distant objects into
individual color wavelengths.
The lifting was scheduled early in the morning to avoid
winds which normally pick up after sunrise atop the
mile-and-a-half high peak, located 15 miles west of Fort
Good said the dome was a geodesic design not normally used
in building observatories, but one common in other projects.
"Temcor out of Carson, Calif., manufactured the dome and are
in charge of the lift," Good said. "A geodesic dome is an
unusual design for a telescope building, but Temcor all
together has made about 3,000 of these structures. They're
used to cover oil tanks and septic structures.
"This is the first application for astronomy. Normally, they
don't have a hole in them," he said of the 40-foot gap
through which the telescope's 91 hexagonal mirrors will
gather light from space. "The 40-foot hole substantially
weakens the geodesic properties, but there's enough strength
in the (structural) nodes to overcome the weakness."
The dome's skeletal structure is made of aluminum, as are
the covering panels. "This puts the lift right at 38,000
pounds, which is a very light lift for this size dome," Good
said. He added that the dome will stand up to any hail
storms that might pass over the observatory, though under
severe conditions some panels might have to be replaced.
"Having a pre-engineered structure like this cut the cost
factor by about four," he said. "The aluminum construction helps us both for its weight and thermal properties, which are much better for the telescope. So all around it's a much better deal.
"A crew of three people put the dome together, which is
really remarkable in that sense. They made all the pieces at
their factory and assembled them on-site," said Good.
Temcor crew manager John Bowser was doing some final welding
on the base of the dome late Thursday afternoon, while other
crews were involved in last-minute painting and electrical
work before the dome was put in place. A `cherry picker' was
used to lift workers up inside the dome, while the crane
hauled a basket containing two other men above the top rim
of the building for a late touch-up job.
"The guys up in the basket are with the telescope company,
Comsat RSI," Good said. "They manufacture radio (telescope)
dishes, but this is the first optical telescope they've
done. While they've got the crane here, they're doing some
painting on the upper part of the telescope."
The "big bucket" HET is designed to catch more light, which
allows scientists to see farther, survey more objects over a
period of time, and detect more elusive and more distant
objects in the universe.
John Booth, telescope structure manager for McDonald
Observatory, said Thursday that the telescope's main section
already had been set into place. "There are no mirrors in
it, though the telescope is essentially complete.
"It rotates around beautifully, and has the mirror trusses
in it, but no mirrors," he said.
Booth said the Hobby-Eberly Telescope was about a year away
from "first light," while actual scientific operations
probably won't start until sometime in 1997.
While Good was overseeing final work on Thursday, he said,
"Tom Sebring is the project manager over all of us," and
arrived on-site late Thursday to supervise this morning's
dome installation. "He's been over in Sweden recently. They
have a design for a telescope 2 1/2 times larger than this,
and we're exploring partnerships on that telescope also."
Officials continue probe of accident
By MARI MALDONADO
PECOS, July 7, 1995-An investigation is continuing into last Saturday's accident in southern Pecos County that resulted in four deaths and five injuries to Dawson Geophysical employees, according to 112th District Attorney Albert Valdez.
Valdez said he has only received a preliminary report from
the Fort Stockton Department of Public Safety office, which
he is currently "not at liberty to discuss."
A total of ten people were in the 1995 Ford Van and 1991
Chevrolet pickup truck involved in the early-morning
accident, including two men from Pecos, one of whom was
among the injured while the second was the driver of the
Jorge Jaquez, 23, driver of the van; Joel Vasquez Ortega,
20; Efren Hernandez Tavarez, 38, and Dionicio Bernal, 39,
all of Fort Stockton, were pronounced dead at the scene.
They were traveling in the van on their way to their work
site in Terrell County when Pecos resident Javier Antonio
Orona, who was driving the pickup, attempted to pass the van
while southbound on U.S. 285, about 15 miles northwest of
Sanderson near the Pecos County-Terrell County line,
according to a DPS report.
Orona was in the left (northbound) lane when the van moved
into that lane, forcing the pickup into the ditch on the
east side of the road.
Orona managed to get his pickup back onto the roadway when
he struck the van on the left hand side, causing it to go
into a skid.
The van proceeded to roll seven times, killing the driver
and ejecting three passengers, all of whom died, according
to the report filed by DPS Corporal Paul Hearne, who
investigated the accident along with Trooper Melinda Lowery
and Sergeant Louis Najere.
All investigating officers were unavailable for comment
prior to press time.
The injured passengers included 52-year-old Isidro Acosta,
of Pecos; 20-year-old Elam Cabellos, of Fort Stockton;
31-year-old Oscar Sanchez and 25-year-old Francisco Jaquez.
Valdez claimed that it would be another week before he
receives all of the reports. "They're a long way from being
through with the investigation."
Dawson Geophysical President Decker Dawson said this morning
that he has not seen the actual DPS report, and that
apparently the only witnesses to the accident were the
survivors. He could not speculate on why the van moved into
the northbound lane while the pickup was attempting to pass.
A spokesperson from the Fort Stockton DPS office said,
"everything is still pending," in reference to any arrests
or judgments made on the accident.
Zoo killers could face federal charges
By MARI MALDONADO
PECOS, July 10, 1995-Two peacocks, a duck and a Capuchin monkey are dead and a black bear wounded after an unknown assailant with a pellet gun allegedly jumped the park's security fence early Sunday morning and took aim at the animals.
Town of Pecos City officials are still checking to see how
many other animals may have been wounded, and federal
charges could be filed in the attack.
"Right now," said City Park Superintendent Armando Gil, "we
have two people over (at the park) catching animals and
checking them" for pellet wounds.
Town of Pecos City Manager Harry Nagel said whoever killed
the animals could face federal charges because of the types
of animals involved.
"We're checking to see if they are considered species. Then
it's considered a federal offense," Nagel said. "The monkey
I believe is considered an endangered species and I think
the bear may also be covered under the Endangered Species
Two separate rewards have been staked by Pecos Crime
Stoppers and the Town of Pecos City Parks Department in
regards to the crime.
City officials are offering a $1,000 reward for the arrest
and conviction of the person or persons that somehow gained
entry into the park's restricted zoo area sometime late
Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
Police Captain David Montgomery said that anyone with
information leading to the case can remain anonymous by
calling the Crime Stoppers number, 445-9898 or the Pecos
Police Department at 445-4911.
Amount of the Crime Stoppers reward has not been posted yet.
"It has to pass the Crime Stoppers Board," said Police Chief
City Park Superintendent Armando Gil said this morning that
the perpetrators may have gained entry by jumping onto the
miniature Alamo replica in Maxey Park, and then scaling the
The dead animals were found Sunday morning about 10 a.m. by
Zoo Keeper Catarino Ramirez.
"We found retaining wires stripped of the rail in that
area," Gil said.
Pecos Animal Clinic Veterinarian Ronald Box said that the
animals were shot with a pellet gun, after pellets were
discovered during an autopsy of all the bodies.
Gil reported that Box found ten pellets in one of the
He said that the monkey received a shot to the body and a
fatal one to the head.
Box was scheduled to perform an examination on the
four-year-old black bear, Boonie, but declined after stating
that it might worsen matters if the bear is sedated.
"He's in good humor this morning," said Gil of the 500-pound
The bear was scheduled for the examination because blood was
found on the cement floor of his cage," said Gil.
He added that the two mountain lions, whose cage is located
just next to the bear's, were probably not shot at because
they usually remain in their den during dark hours.
"Hopefully," said Gil, "we can replace the animals," but
seemed doubtful of the efforts to replace the male, year-old
Capuchin monkey, Alex.
"They were a brother and sister team," said Gil of the
Gil added the female monkey, Andy, has been displaying signs
of sadness following her brother's death.
Commissioners seek way to improve collection
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, July 10, 1995-With a shortfall of about $1 million in tax collections, Reeves County Commissioners discussed hiring a new firm to take over handling delinquent taxes during this morning's regular Commissioners Court meeting.
"We're in a position that we need to hire a firm, with that
much money not collected," said County Judge Jimmy Galindo.
Total delinquent taxes for 1994 were set at $840,000, with
an additional $200,000 uncollected so far this year.
"I don't see a reason for the change," said Tax-Assessor
Collector Elfida Zuniga. "You can get the best firm there
is, but if the people don't have the money you won't be able
to collect anyway."
Zuniga also stated that due to the economy, tax collections
have been down for the past year.
Frank Walker, of Calame, Linebarger, Graham and Pena, the
current collection firm handling Reeves County's taxes,
spoke on behalf of his company and cited several problems
leading to the lack of collections.
"Our service slowed down at the end of 1994 due to some
illness in the individual handling these cases," said
Walker. "We have filed 12 lawsuits, but we can go out and
collect all the money at one time."
Walker also said that former Reeves County Tax-Assessor
Collector Elida Ramon told him not to file any lawsuits in
regard to the delinquent taxes.
"She told me to slow down collections, because she didn't
want her name on those notices," Walker said.
"She didn't confer with any of the commissioners on this
decision?" asked Galindo. "She just took it upon herself to
Ramon was appointed after Alicia Navarette resigned from the
position in January on 1994. She lost as a write-in
candidate against Ramon in last November's general election.
"She wasn't even elected, she was appointed to the position
by the commissioners," said Galindo, who took office along
with Zuniga this past January.
"In the year and a half that I've been around, I've never
seen anybody from your firm," said Galindo. "You might be
performing (your duties), but nobody knows it."
"The thing is that we're facing some major problems in the
general fund," said County Attorney Bill Weinacht. "There
are cuts that will have to be made because of this."
Commissioner Precinct 4 Bernardo Martinez made a motion to
terminate the firm. The motion was defeated 3-2 with
Galindo, Precinct 2 Commissioner Dr. W.J. Bang and Precinct
3 Commissioner Herman Tarin voting against the motion.
Commissioners did opt to request proposals from different
firms, including one whose representative was on hand at
this morning's meeting.
Francisco Castillo of Parmer, Steen and Young Law Firm of
Fort Worth spoke on behalf of his firm.
"All I can say is that we will make this account a personal
account," said Castillo. "We will be available to talk to
you and take a personal interest."
Castillo also assured commissioners that the county would be
treated like the most important account and that somebody
from the firm would be here communicating with them.
Commissioners will decide on which firm to hire within a
month, when proposals from different firms have been studied.
In other action today, a memorial dedication at the Reeves
County Library in honor of Adele Mattox-Higginbottom was
table until the wording for the plaque can be agreed upon.
Librarian Nancy Bently told the court a memorial had been
built at the library in honor of Higginbottom, a former
Pecos resident who was one of the 168 victims of the April
19 Oklahoma City federal building bombing.
"We just want to dedicate this to her and the other victims
and come up with something to put on the plaque," said
Bentley. "We want to put the right wording on it."
Bentley asked the court for their help in coming up with the
appropriate wording and helping with the dedication.
"Somehow we're all connected and I just felt we needed to do
something here in her honor," she added.
Higginbottom, a 1968 Pecos High School graduate, was working
at the A.P. Murrah Federal Building at the time of the
Also today, commissioners appointed Galindo to oversee the
Pecos River Livestock and Greear Loans and to take any
action necessary in securing both defaulting loans.
"I think we need to authorize you to do whatever in
necessary to take action on these loans," said Weinacht. "We
need one person designated to proceed with this matter."
The Pecos Industrial Foundation lent money to both start-up
businesses, and the country has been having problems
obtaining loan payments from both.
Pecos River Livestock has repaid only the interest, and not
the principal on the loan, while Greear has only given one
payment of $1,200.
The Greear loan was $68,000 and is delinquent five payments
in the amount of $1,200.
The county attorney agreed to help the judge with the
legalities pertaining to the loans.
Dick Alligood, a member of the Pecos Industrial Foundation,
recommended that a former loan be added to the list. "I
think the Carmenatas loan should also be added and dealt
with," he said, "even though they're going through legal
steps right now."
The $60,000 agriculture loan was issued in the spring of
1993 and defaulted that summer.
"Someone needs to be designated at the beginning of these
loans," said Weinacht.
Restrooms for the Reeves County Detention Center were
approved. "This issue has been lingering for some time,"
"We've been paying close to $700 a month to get the outdoor
restrooms drained," said Auditor Lynn Owens. "It would be
better if we just got the bathrooms built," he said.
RCDC Warden Joe Trujillo stated that the problem they ran
into in regards to this issue was the fact that the
restrooms would cost about $8,000 and would require an
architect or engineer.
"If any renovation exceeds $8,000, we need an engineer, and
that's the only drawback," he said.
The restrooms are required by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and
two would be located in the farm area of the facility and
the other in the recreation area.
Teens confess to zoo animals' fatal shootings
By MARI MALDONADO
PECOS, July 11, 1995-Two 16-year-old boys have been identified as the ones who fired shots at the Maxey Park Zoo over the weekend, killing four animals and possibly wounding another.
The two teens were identified when their parents met with
Pecos Police Captain David Montgomery. He said the meeting
came after the parents received a confession from their sons
they had been involved in the pellet gun incident which took
place early Sunday morning.
"I strongly feel the credit should go to the parents," said
Montgomery after he met with both the juveniles and their
concerned parents about 7 p.m. Monday evening at his
"The police department received a call from one of the
parents around 5 p.m. yesterday, and then they called me at
home," said Montgomery.
"I think what led to this case being solved," was the effort
of the parents, he said. "Not all parents would do what
these parents did. I have nothing but admiration for these
Montgomery added, "We're on the right track of getting this
ugly mess taken care of ."
Juvenile Officer Juan Vasquez took statements from the two
boys before a magistrate, said Montgomery, "but they have
not been formerly charged yet."
Attacks on one of the animals that died and another who may
have been wounded could fall under the Endangered Species
Act, Town of Pecos City Manager Harry Nagel said Monday.
That would allow the city to file federal charges in the
case, though police said they had not talked about that
"I don't know anything about federal charges," said
"Once all the paperwork has been completed and submitted,"
charges will be incurred, he said, "but under the state's
Juvenile Justice System . . . as far as I know."
"No one has been referred to us from the police department
yet," Juvenile Probation Officer Alberto Alvarez, Jr., said
Alvarez noted that once a case is referred to his office,
"Then it's up to the County Attorney on what kind of charges
will be filed."
County Attorney Bill Weinacht said that he has discussed the
case with District Attorney John Stickels, who suggested
that the two juveniles be certified as adults.
"But without a full analysis of the case, it's hard to say
how I'm going to deal with it," said Weinacht.
"I don't have jurisdiction to file federal charges," he
added, "but I plan to look at it and try to determine what
will be the best thing to do.
"I think that based on everything going on in the community,
we should treat these cases as severely as possible,"
Montgomery said the two boys confessed to their parents
shortly after the «MDUL»Enterprise's«MDNM» story about the
incident in Monday's edition, at which time they notified
Two peafowls, one duck and one Capuchin monkey were killed
as a result of the two juvenile's shooting spree with pellet
An autopsy was performed by Pecos Animal Clinic Veterinarian
Ronald Box showed one of the peafowls had been shot ten
times, while the male monkey received a fatal shot to the
The zoo's black bear, Boonie, was also believed to have been
shot at, after Zoo Keeper Catarino Ramirez found blood on
the cage's cement floor Sunday morning. An examination of
the bear was canceled when Box told Town of Pecos City Park
Superintendent Armando Gil that sedating the animal would
possibly worsen matters.
The two boys indicated that they did in fact gain entry by
jumping onto the small Alamo replica and then scaling the
10-foot fence as speculated by officials, said Montgomery.
"I don't know how many pellet guns were involved,"
Montgomery said, but the two boys indicated they were each
possibly armed with a pellet gun and that they entered the
restricted park area sometime after midnight Saturday.
"Neither one of those boys have ever been in trouble with
the police department," Montgomery said, "They appeared to
be remorseful and saddened for what they had done."
He added that it was worth noting that the two juveniles,
"did take responsibility for what they had done."
Nagel said Monday the city would offer a $1,000 reward for
information leading to the arrest. Another reward was to be
offered through Crime Stoppers, and the Pecos Rifle and Gun
Club said they would contribute $200 to that total.
However, Montgomery said, "The parents are not seeking any
reward. All they want is for the boys to face up their
Nagel said this morning that "probably. . .yes," the city
will be seeking a restitution of $3,500 for replacement of
Gil said his office is currently working on the paperwork
for the necessary health preparations to bring a replacement
male Capuchin monkey, which has been donated to the Maxey
The monkey is currently living at a zoo near Chicago, Ill.,
The twin Capuchin monkeys arrived at the Maxey Park Zoo just
over five months ago. The male, year-old Capuchin monkey
named Alex was the one killed, and Gil said Monday the
female monkey, Andy, has been displaying signs of sadness
following her brother's death.
Gil and Nagel said they were looking at three options to
increase security at the zoo: a 24-hour security guard,
sealing off entry to the park and posting a 10 p.m. curfew
and increasing the height of the already existing 10-foot
fence by adding a barbed wire fence, with razor-sharp blades.
July 11, 1995
Jail's low inmate count irks Galindo
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS-July 11, 1995-A line-item transfer requested by Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez was questioned before being approved at Monday's Reeves County Commissioner's Court meeting.
Sheriff Gomez had requested a line-item transfer in the
amount of $10,000 from jailer funds to guard funds.
"Even if your count is as low as it is, you still need
additional staff?" asked County Judge Jimmy Galindo.
Gomez said he had hired two part-time employees instead of
one full-time worker. "I'm trying to save money in regards
to the benefits," he said.
Part-time employees are not eligible for benefits, while
full-time employees are.
"According to (state) jail standards we're still one
employee short," said Gomez.
"The jail is behind $141,000 in projected revenue for the
year," said Galindo. "It's lagging behind $141,000 and we're
still functioning with a full staff.
Do you realize the jail is lagging behind?"
The downtown jail houses both city and county inmates, along
with those contracted from other law enforcement agencies.
It currently holds 46 inmates, but was supposedly to receive
a busload today, according to Gomez.
"We're facing a tough situation in terms of jail and the
financial situation," said Galindo. "I just wanted to point
During the portion of Monday's meeting in which reports from
various departments were approved, County Auditor Lynn Owens
said the county jail and justice of the peace fees were
"Those are two items which have been lagging behind, with JP
fees lagging behind 39 percent of the budget," he said.
"It's affected all the other court costs. We'll just need to
hold the line on expenses."
Also during the meeting, waste disposal service for Reeves
County's rural areas was tabled until a Pecos County
disposal company can draw up a contract similar to the one
in place with West Tex Disposal.
West Tex took over from Pack Rat Services last year as the
disposal company serving rural Reeves County, including the
Ramon Sotelo of the Waste Disposal Company of Fort Stockton
spoke on behalf of his company and assured commissioners he
could provide the same type service.
"He's been very diligent about this issue and if he's that
diligent in collecting the trash, he's someone we need,"
said County Attorney Bill Weinacht.
"We just need a contract similar to the one we have in place
right now before he does the service," Weinacht added.
Sotelo's proposal included providing services to those
individuals who can't afford it at a lower rate.
Commissioners tabled purchasing a copier for the Reeves
County Sheriff's Office and approved RCDC change orders.
Reclassification of RCDC security officer, comptroller and
detention officer positions were approved.
Security officer was moved to resident adviser. "The
security officer position was created by you," Warden Joe
Trujillo told commissioners. "It will connect to case
manager department and include resident adviser."
An administrative position was offered to Alice Nichols at
the Reeves County Detention Center as an assistant
The BOP has approved the proposals and are familiar with the
changes and job descriptions, according to Trujillo.
The deputation of Rosie Poitevint at the Reeves County
Sheriff's Office was approved and new employees at the
Reeves County Detention Center include, Steven Brookshire,
Ernesto Meza, Priscilla Holguin and Louis Villalobos at
salaries of $15,000 per year.
Six workers cut by new owners of sulphur mine
By MARI MALDONADO
PECOS,July 12, 1995-Six employees of Freeport-McMoRan's Culberson County sulphur mine, formerly Pennzoil Sulphur, lost jobs Tuesday, when they did not receive employment offers from the new owners of the plant.
"We can't use the term `lay-off,'" said Jay Handelman,
Freeport-McMoRan media public relations consultant. "We made
an offer of employment to all employees, except six people,
and those six were hourly employees."
New Orleans-based Freeport agreed last year to purchase the
mine from Pennzoil, which had operated the facility since
Culberson Mine General Manager Phillip O. Tyree said this
morning, "What it really is: Freeport picked up the people
"That's their privilege when they bought the mine," said
Tyree, "They decided who they wanted to keep."
This plan "has been going on for quite a while," he added.
"It was all taken care of yesterday," Tyree said. The six
employees were notified at that time and will be receiving
severance pay, he said.
Handelman added that the release of these six persons "will
not be a dramatic effect on the workforce in Pecos.
"It is my understanding that four of these six people were
from Pecos," said Handelman.
Tyree said that it worked out well because the severance pay
will take some of them into their retirement and will
accommodate those who wanted to work at something else.
He said the mine is currently operating with exactly 200
employees. The figure represents a drop of nearly 60 percent
from 1990, when 480 people were employed at the site,
located 40 miles northwest of Pecos.
However, most of that decline came in the early 1990s after
sulphur prices dropped sharply, and the number of employees
at the mine has fallen by only 13 since November of 1993.
Charges yet to be filed in zoo animal shooting
By MARI MALDONADO
PECOS,July 12, 1995-Formal charges against two 16-year-olds, who police say confessed to shooting animals at the Maxey Park Zoo early Sunday, have not been filed as of this morning.
Four animals were killed and the zoo's Black bear was
apparently wounded in the pellet gun attack.
Juvenile Probation Officer Alberto Alvarez, Jr., and Reeves
County Attorney Bill Weinacht each said that they have not
received the case file from police authorities.
Alvarez said Tuesday that once he receives the case file
from the police department, it is up to the county attorney
to decide the types of charges that will be filed.
Police officials were unavailable for comment at press time.
Weinacht said that the public should keep in mind that the
"whole object of the juvenile justice system is to
rehabilitate the children.
"There are acts that children commit that necessitate some
form of corrective action," Weinacht said.
He said that only when a juvenile has been certified as an
adult - which the two teens allegedly involved in this
incident have not been - are their names and record
Currently, "the law enforcement files and records are not
open to public inspection nor may their contents be
disclosed to the public," under section 51.14, subsection
(d), of the Family Code.
The information is publishable if it is obtained by someone
other than an official said Weinacht.
The two teens and their parents met with police Monday
afternoon, after police said the teens confessed to their
parents they were involved in the attack.
In a letter of regret to the Pecos community from one of the
juveniles that the Enterprise received this morning, the
16-year-old said, "I am not trying to gain pity or
forgiveness, I am merely apologizing to the parents and
children of Pecos for taking away some of the few privileges
this town has to offer."
He goes on to say that many of us may be asking ourselves
why he did "such a terrible thing. The truth is I have asked
myself the same question since that day.
"And there is no greater punishment than the guilt and
remorse that I feel in my heart. Putting this down on paper
is the first step in trying to show this community how much
I really regret my actions."
Two peafowl, a duck and a male Capuchin monkey were killed
in the attack. City Parks Superintendent Armando Gil is
seeking a replacement for the monkey, part of a
brother-sister pair the zoo just acquired in January.
Cash crunch may cause "crash"
RCH board weighs need for new computer system
By MARI MALDONADO
PECOS, July 12, 1995-With a deficit of $300,000 looming for the Reeves County Hospital District next year, Chairman Raul Garcia urged other board members to reconsider expanding the health facility's computer system.
The total package will cost $22,000, plus an additional $700
for high density tapes, RCH's Chief Financial Officer Mike
Hathorn estimated during Tuesday's regularly scheduled
hospital board meeting, suggesting the new system be
financed through the IBM Financial Corporation.
Hathorn told the board that the hospital computer is
currently operating at a danger zone of 85 percent capacity
"At one point it was 98 percent," said Hathorn, "my main
fear is that the system will crash on us."
In response to a question from Garcia Hathorn noted that
$28,000 had been budgeted for P3 items, under which the new
system would fall.
"But didn't we designate it for P3 items meant to be
purchased in 1996?" responded Garcia, before asking the
board to reconsider purchasing the computer system package.
Hathorn said that another thing to consider is the fact that
maintenance on their existing IBM 36's will go up because
the company is trying to phase them out.
"It's more than just saying it's a slow computer, it's
holding up the entire productivity of the (business)
office," said RCH Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Riley.
Both Riley and Hathorn argues that business office personnel
are having to stay after-hours to work on the system and
wait longer to be able to go on-line.
Board member Jeannette Alligood asked Riley and Hathorn if
maybe they could redesign work hours "to buy us some time
now" until Dr. (Kai-Wood) Ma arrives in October.
"We'll be facing an even bigger deficit if we can't bill,"
said Alligood to Garcia, in regards to a possible system
"My heart says go ahead and go with (buying) it," board
member Marcella Lovett said, while asking Hathorn if, to
satisfy everyone, he could prepare a presentation of what
the payoff will be if the package is purchased.
The board tabled the agenda item for their next meeting.
Addressing the RCH's financial problems and need for
expansion of their computer system, Al Bendeck, PA-C, of
Texas Tech Medical Center presented the board with a
thorough presentation of TTMC and University Medical Center
and its affiliation program with regional hospitals.
He mentioned that in order for small hospitals "to
strategically place themselves in the future, they should
affiliate. You're gonna dry up out there on a limb."
Bendick said that UMC and TTMC financial consultants and
other officials have looked at RCH's situation and noted,
"It's not a good picture."
"We can help you with your computer problem," said Bendick,
who said that if the hospital's affiliates, "we can bring in
some of our people to set up a system."
"There are a number of things we can do as partners in an
affiliation," Bendick told the board.
"Pecos needs a hospital. You've got good people working in
this community who deserve a hospital," he added.
On the new physician's contract, Riley told the board that
the 1996 budgeting process is currently underway and "we're
gonna have to work hard on getting that license (Dr. Ma's
Texas medical license) passed through," which is required
for him to continue his training here in Texas.
Riley explained to the board that she has not yet received a
signed contract from Dr. Ma, and because he has just
recently applied for his license, his practice here in Pecos
"may move more slowly than our contract calls for."
She told the board that she has met with the medical staff
and discussed with Larry Skiles, of Rauscher Pierce Refsnes,
Inc., a further review the hospital's financial state all in
conjunction with the indefinite postponement of bond refunds.
Riley noted that she and Skiles looked at the possibility of
returning ownership of the hospital to the county.
In another budget-related matter, Alligood voiced her
disappointment with the tabling of the indigent care report.
"I'm very disappointed that we do not have anything on
indigent care," she said. The cost of indigent care is
considered one of the factors in the hospital's budget
Riley said that she has met with Garcia and Nancy Ontiveros
on the indigent care program but Garcia had requested
additional information and "that's why we do not have that
to present at this meeting."
"There have been a couple of agenda items that I have
requested and have not been agendaed," she told Garcia.
Garcia responded that the indigent report has not been
completed and that's why it was tabled again.
No action was taken during the board's executive session to
evaluate the hospital's administrator, Garcia said this
Chamber told of new Civic Center fees
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, July 12, 1995-Pecos Chamber of Commerce Manager Tom Rivera updated board members on an agreement made between Reeves County and the Chamber of Commerce in reference to the rental of the Reeves County Civic Center during the board's monthly meeting Tuesday.
"Instead of paying $150 for renting the Reeves County Civic
Center, individuals will be leasing it for $500," said
Non-profit organizations are able to lease the civic center
at no charge, but private individuals who would like to rent
the center for events for-profit will have to pay $500 and
place a $250 cleaning deposit, Reeves County Judge
Jimmy Galindo said today.
Only two changes were made to the original contract which
included the new fee scale and the fact that the Chamber of
Commerce will have to pay according to the new fee scale if
they co-sponsor any events which are for-profit, said
No other major changes were made to the contract.
"Events which will compete with private sectors sponsored by
individuals," said Galindo. "Those individuals will be
assessed the new fee," he said.
The public shouldn't have to pay for somebody's personal
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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